Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, who has been in a long battle with the Arvind Kejriwal-led government, today tendered his resignation with over a year to go into his tenure.
Jung was appointed as the Delhi LG in July 2013 by the Congress-led UPA government. The Narendra Modi government retained him even as it replaced most Governors in the states.
A 1973-batch IAS officer from the Madhya Pradesh Cadre, Jung served as the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia from 2009 to 2013.
In a brief statement, Jung thanked both Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, with whom he had been locked in a turf battle for months.
"He thanks the Prime Minister for all help and cooperation he received during his tenure as the Lt. Governor," the statement said.
"He also thanks the Chief Minister of Delhi for his association in the last two years," the statement said.
Jung thanked the people of Delhi too for "their support and affection, especially during the one year's President Rule" leading to the assembly elections that led to a AAP victory in February 2015.
His resignation has come as a surprise to even those at the Centre. MHA sources said no one was aware of his resignation in advance.
Jung had met Union Home Secretary Rajiv Meharshi just yesterday and there was no mention of resignation in the meeting. Another meeting between the two was scheduled for Friday.
There was no political pressure on Jung and he was not asked to resign, a senior MHA official said.
According to Home Ministry, there is no fixed term of an LG and neither it is ever mentioned on the appointment letter. Usually gubernatorial appointees serve for five years at the post.
For nearly two years, since the Aam Aadmi Party government came to power, he has been involved in a bitter battle over the distribution of power.
Kejriwal described the resignation as a surprise even as the AAP took a jibe at the LG, saying he worked under the "influence" of the Narendra Modi dispensation.
The AAP also questioned whether the power tussle between the Centre and Delhi government will continue even after the appointment of a new LG.
Kejriwal said Jung's resignation is a surprise to him and wished him for his future endeavours. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, despite the "sweet bitter" experience, the AAP government and Jung did a good job in Delhi.
Delhi minister Kapil Mishra said this would bring ‘Achhe Din’ for the national capital.
"Good wishes to Najeeb Jung for his future endeavour. God should give some good sense to them who controlled him. Will the war continue even after Jung's (exit)?" Mishra said.
Rumours suggest that Jung could be in line to be appointed as the next Vice President of the country.
Jung's tenure was marked by a sharp escalation in tensions between his office, which reported to the central government, and the Kejriwal government.
What began as a turf war turned into an often nasty confrontation between Jung and Kejriwal over who is the boss in Delhi, which, although a state, does not enjoy parity with other states.
The central government, through the Lt Governor, controls Delhi Police, law and order and issues related to land in the capital.
The recurring Jung-Kejriwal battle was decided in favour of the former on August 4 by the Delhi High Court. The AAP government has moved the Supreme Court, where the matter is yet to be decided.
Retired bureaucrat Anil Baijal is tipped to be the preferred choice to reaplace Jung. However, some sources say the name of former Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi is also being considered.